Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

Match play can be a pretty game and exciting, but it can never exert the relentless pressure of the card and pencil. In match play you can lose only one hole at a time, and that only to an opponent you can see. In stroke play you can blow a comfortable lead with one careless or misplayed shot; and the most phlegmatic player is always plagued by rumors or imaginings of what others are doing.




"According to a Titleist official, the company is trying to persuade the Tour to hold off on its plans to adopt a condition of competition that would require new groove cross-sections"

Remember a few weeks ago when Greg Norman mentioned rumors that the groove rule change was in doubt? You had to figure the Shark wasn't just throwing that out for attention.

Adam Barr reports that Titleist/Acushnet is trying to convince the PGA Tour to postpone their planned 2010 adoption of a condition of competition requiring conforming grooves in response to the USGA/R&A decision.

Still, all the major manufacturers claim to be ready to proceed with the effective date for the condition of competition the Tour wants to adopt, which is Jan. 1. (Beyond the Tour, the rule would apply to any club manufactured after that date, but clubs made before then will be permissible for use for recreational players until 2024.) Even so, Titleist is asking the Tour to push the rule implementation date back a year because of the intricacies of fitting players under the new groove rules.

None of the major manufacturers would speak on the record for this story. But sources close to the situation have said that the refitting process will be much more complicated than switching out some “old” wedges for new ones. It has been suggested that the performance of wedges with new grooves might even require swing changes, which could lead to the use of a different ball model and, in turn, encourage a driver switch. In other words, the ripple effect of the groove rule could be felt throughout the entire bag. That has some manufacturers and players thinking they need more time to experiment and adjust than the post-season stretch usually reserved for incorporating such new equipment.

So much work drama! Over some grooves. Who knew?

So these big, all knowing manufacturers can't keep up with the USGA now?

“Some manufacturers have said they’re not going to be ready [for the change],” said PGA Tour player Brett Quigley, a member of the Player Advisory Committee. “[But] there’s also the argument that players won’t test until they have to. So why wait another year until 2011? Guys still won’t bother to do it.”

This is really funny:

Of course, players these days won’t stand for any loss of yardage off the tee from the new generation of higher-spinning balls, said the ball manufacturer source. That will be the chief engineering challenge, he said.


"It's a way of cross generation to introduce current and future members of the LPGA to a very important part of the world."

LPGA Brand Lady Carolyn Bivens is interviewed by the "Toy Department" blog at the Baltimore Sun site. Some nice MBAisms for those of you collecting jargon at home.

Bivens: The fact that a sports league or association would own one of its own championships and be able to illustrate and display their best of class of their brand, to set the eligibilty criteria and own all the revenue streams for that event is huge. Yes, it is high risk and high reward, but the opportunities for that to make a difference from a brand standpoint ... over the next 50 years is very big.


How many years into the future are you looking? You talk about a focus of five to seven years, but you also talk about 50 years. Where, as an executive, is your focal point?

Bivens: For the long term, dealing with the base of the platform, you look out 10 years. Most of the rest of the planning you do for five years out.

Isn't that redundant, the base of the platform? Or is there a layer I don't know about?

So your deal with J Golf, South Korean television, that's looking 10 years out, maybe more?

Bivens: The deal is a five-year deal and the big news about that ... is that it's multi-platform. It's not just cable television rights for South Korea. They own multiple magazines, they have a partnership deal with CNN, they have multiple digital platforms. It's a way of cross generation to introduce current and future members of the LPGA to a very important part of the world.

Cross generation! That's a new one for me. Anyone care to define?


U.S. Open Pairings Set

Doug Ferguson analyzes next week's U.S. Open pairings at Bethpage and offers a few thematic observations. No mention of a &$%@! pairing though.


John Atkinson, RIP

Sad news about the first ever participant in the Golf Digest Challenge passes away nearly a year to the day he played Torrey Pines.


Oh No...They're Taking Monty Along!

So they're trying to dispel the stereotype that golf is a rich, soft, doughy white man's sport and taking Monty along for the final IOC presentation? That's got Peter Dawson written all over it!

Golf Stars and Leaders Will Make Final Presentation to IOC Executive Board for Sport’s Inclusion in 2016 Olympic Games

IGF Olympic Golf Committee Expands by 12 to 19 Organisations

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA (June 10, 2009) – International Golf Federation Global Ambassador Annika Sorenstam and 2010 European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie will join representatives of the International Golf Federation when golf’s final case for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games will be made to the International Olympic Committee Executive Board on Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Sorenstam, who serves as a Global Ambassador in support of the IGF’s effort, and Montgomerie will join Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner, LPGA of Japan President and World Golf Hall of Fame member Hisako “Chako” Higuchi, IGF Co-Secretary Peter Dawson and IGF Executive Director Ty Votaw for the presentation. Dawson and Votaw have been coordinating golf’s Olympic bid.

“We feel it is very important for the IOC Executive Board to be able to personally hear from two of the game’s most highly respected players in Annika and Colin,” Votaw said. “We will also be presenting a film featuring 16 of the game’s most prominent players including current World # 1 ranked Lorena Ochoa and Tiger Woods, as well as IGF Global Ambassador Jack Nicklaus describing the compelling reasons why golf should be reinstated as an Olympic sport after an absence of more than a century.“

Golf last was part of the Olympic Games in 1904, when the United States and Canada were the only competing nations.


"I've had a dream about 20 times where he comes to me and asks me for a lesson."

Michael Bamberger theorizes about how Tiger found his swing at the Memorial, prints a cute rant from Hank Haney and shares this from Johnny:

Johnny Miller, the winner of the 1973 U.S. Open and lead analyst at Bethpage for NBC, has long been Tiger's most incisive critic (and, at times among the microphone crowd, his only objective fan). Last week, before the Memorial, Miller said in an interview, "I've had a dream about 20 times where he comes to me and asks me for a lesson." In Miller's dream he instructs Woods to hit shots with a slight pause at the top of his swing, as he did from 1997 through 2000. Miller also asks Woods to soften the squat move he has been making in recent years, where his head and body come too close to the ball on the downswing and he gets in his own way.

You know Johnny, if you ever went out on the driving range I'm sure Tiger would have made time for you.


"Can the one have fun?"

Writing that "some respite from the pressure is clearly a healthy thing," Maureen Dowd says that Barack Obama needs to be able to take his wife on the occasional date or tee it up now and then:

Mixing play with intense work is not only a good mental health strategy; it’s a good way to show the world that American confidence and cool — and Cary Grant romantic flair — still thrive.

Date on and tee it up, Mr. President. It’s O.K. if they’re teed off.


"It can be pretty overwhelming thinking about it.โ€

Beth Ann Baldry on the uncertain future of the LPGA Championship:

“To be an LPGA member and play your championship, you want that to be the best tournament on your schedule,” Angela Stanford said. “That’s the way it should be.”

LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens plans to run the event much like the PGA Tour’s Players Championship – without a title sponsor. To do that, she needs several presenting sponsors, and to this point, none has come forward. No sponsors, no site.

“I think there’s definitely a level of concern for everyone,” said Cristie Kerr, the LPGA’s 2009 money leader. “Whether it’s your mortgage that you’re looking at or your stock portfolio or your bank account or how many tournaments are up for renewal. . . . It can be pretty overwhelming thinking about it.”


"We concentrated on items made or distributed on Long Island"

Thanks to John Strege at the Local Knowledge blog for catching Sophia Chang's story on the food preparation for U.S. Open contestants. What recession?

Unlike the mere mortals who must satiate their appetites with hot dogs from the concession stands at the Bethpage Black Course, the Very Important Golfers at the U.S. Open will have their pick of more than 200 gourmet offerings every day, prepared by a kitchen staff of 200 working nearly around the clock at the golf course clubhouse.

"We concentrated on items made or distributed on Long Island," said Steven Carl, the chief executive of caterer Carlyle on the Green that is handling the clubhouse food and who presented the menu at a news conference Wednesday.

The local focus includes knishes, Nathan's hot dogs, New York pickles, and black and white cookies, he said.

Here's a video version of the story:


Christina Kim To Be Mic'd; Golf Channel Goes On 45-Second Delay

I figured it was just wishful thinking when Shipnuck and Herre pondered this in the weekly "Confidential" book:

Shipnuck: For the first round Christina Kim has agreed to wear a microphone for ESPN. It has a chance to be the most entertaining day of golf for all of 2009, if not ever.

Herre: I will definitely tune in for that. We've talked about this before, but miking the players adds a lot IMO.

Sure enough, Golf Channel confirms:

LPGA professional Christina Kim will be mic’d up Thursday during GOLF CHANNEL’s opening round coverage of the McDonald’s LPGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Kim will be paired with Michelle Wie and Shanshan Feng. Live coverage will begin Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET, with a prime-time re-air at 7 p.m. ET. This will be the second LPGA event in 2009 GOLF CHANNEL will mic a player during live tournament coverage. Kristy McPherson was wired for sound during the opening round of the LPGA Corning Classic, where she also played alongside Michelle Wie.

Considering her Tweets of late, this could be good.


Bookies Down On Olympic Golf; Must Be The Decision To Go With 72-Hole Stroke Play

Ashling O'Connor looks at the possible 2016 Olympic sport add-ons as suits convene on Lausanne for a June 15th presentation to the IOC.

Golf has pledged to field the world's best male and female players in 60-player strokeplay tournaments in each week of the Games, while using the Olympics to dispel its “country club image”. The stars and the sponsors that golf would bring to the Games will be hard to reject.

Yet it is by no means a done deal. Squash still presents a good case for inclusion as it tries to shake its yuppie image immortalised by Wall Street, Oliver Stone's 1987 film about corporate excess.

At the end of the piece, O'Connor lists what the bookies think of each sports chances.

I still say the 72-hole, World Ranking stuffed, prefab WGC-Olympics concept has the bookies down. If only they'd gone with a more athletic, daring and exciting format...ah forget it. At least golf still has the edge over poll pole dancing.


"The European Tour's chief executive George O'Grady insists the deal with Leisurecorp is secure. Maybe it is - but at what terms?"

On his new Guardian golf blog, Lawrence Donegan adds to the growing list of evidentiary items suggesting that LeisureCorp's troubles will inevitably impact their massive European Tour sponsorship deal.


Improved Lie?

Thanks to reader Aleid for pointing out that the replay of Richie Ramsay's incident during Saturday's Wales Open is now posted. 



"Stabs are like random."

Geoff Calkins talks to court-order-defying John Daly-wife Sherrie, who offers this forensic evidence to dispute claims she tried to stab her still-husband two years ago.

"It was a complete lie," she said. "He did it to himself. It looked to me like scratches. What did I do, cut him? And then he turned around and let me cut the other side? "Stabs are like random."

Shouldn't there be a comma after like?

As for her restraining order this week...

The woman who has been traveling with Daly of late is his girlfriend. At least until this morning -- when a hearing will be held as to whether to extend a temporary restraining order -- Sherrie is barred from the course.

Which, frankly, ticks her off.

"I live at Southwind," she said. "If I want to go visit with friends over the weekend, I should be allowed to go. If I want to follow Doug Barron, well, he's a friend. But I assure you, the last thing I want to do is get involved with John and his mistress."

And what a lucky lady she is. Calkin then asks, "OK, so, again, why blast Daly now?"

"I'm so sick of this good guy image, this sweet guy who just loves kids and is so good to charity," Sherrie said. "If you're this nice guy, and you care all about these stranger kids and now you're wearing pink pants for Amy Mickelson, how come you have ... "

And here Sherrie launches into a sordid tale, the tale of a horrendous divorce, and you know how that goes.
He did this. She did that. Who knows where the truth lies?


"Truth is, we would love to apply a one-stroke penalty if the opportunity arises because the message this sends out is very powerful."

Mark Garrod talks to the European Tour's Andy McFee about why Christian Cevaer was not assessed a slow play penalty during the recent European Open.

This McFee comment was interesting in light of the PGA Tour's hasn't doled out a penalty in 17 years.

"Truth is, we would love to apply a one-stroke penalty if the opportunity arises because the message this sends out is very powerful.

"But we will always treat all players fairly and we will not seek to penalise when the circumstances don't warrant it.

"Incidentally, 17 one-stroke penalties have been earned (and I use that word deliberately] since 1997 - hardly inaction.

"True, most of the penalties fall to those who don't know the system, but you have to be either naive or dim to have a second bad time after a ref has told you that you already have one bad time and one more will be an instant penalty of one stroke.

"Most hard-nosed pros then manage to get business done inside the limits, meaning they either get back in position or we have no opportunity to act further."


"What I saw was very strange, very strange indeed."

Since there was so much complaining about coverage of Kenny Perry's FBR Open pre-shot routine, and since there is no video posted (yet), I've held off posting something on Richie Ramsay's rules incident Saturday. I had hoped video would be posted now, but we'll just have to rely on the accounts until someone at Sky puts it up on YouTube.

Here's a straightforward AP story, a more titillating tabloid report from Jim Black quoting rules official John Paramor.

Also, Mike Aitken reminds us that Ramsay has had other run-ins with the rules.

And I don't quite understand Douglas Lowe's logic here.

Let's make one thing clear: Richie Ramsay's integrity is not under question. He is an honest broker of the fairways and, yes, I would buy a second-hand car from him. A question mark, however, does hang over his knowledge of the rules of golf and, as they say in the best of legal circles, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

This Norman Dabell story recounts how the day after the incident in question, Ramsay did receive a one shot penalty for another violation.


Celtic Manor Boss: Monty For Office!

Douglas Lowe reports Sir Terry Matthews--lucky 2010 Ryder Cup purchasee--is madly in love with European Captain Colin Montgomerie.

Montgomerie has had a long relationship with Matthews and the resort and he has even designed one of the three courses there.

"I would say he is over passionate about golf and I get on with him incredibly well. He brings his family here," said Matthews.

"I always wanted Monty to be the captain. I get on with him really well, he's a dynamite guy, and no matter where you go they know him.

"He looks good and plays well. He also plays to the audience well. He's more popular than probably any other player than Tiger Woods because he's charismatic and people like that get icon status. They all know Monty. He is the European equivalent of Tiger.

"If he ever wanted to go down the political road he could. He speaks well and is well educated, but he's too busy to go into politics and I wouldn't want to see him lost to golf. The golf industry needs him.

So does the blogosphere!

 "If I was in charge of the PGA and European Tour I would find a way to keep his face in front of the cameras talking about golf because he is more of an icon than George O'Grady European Tour chief executive or Richard Hills Ryder Cup director or any of those guys. He is the star.

There's a high standard. I wonder if Matthews would also tell us that Tiger should be the front man for the PGA Tour instead of Tim Finchem?


"Finding an emotional balance will be more difficult than finding the first fairway."

Craig Dolch files a very nice column about the emotional mixed-bag that Phil Mickelson faces this week and compares. Uh, editors, did we really need this tagline at the end of the column?

Craig Dolch is a freelance columnist for PGATOUR.COM. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR.

Look, we all understand that Craig's a subversive rebel looking to undermine the integrity of the PGA Tour and most weeks you need a disclaimer to distance yourselves from his radical views. But on this column? On this topic? Really? Let's give it a week off, eh?


"I challenge anyone to say there is a more democratic golf competition"

Doug Ferguson files a nice look at the beauty and unique nature of U.S. Open qualifying.

Max Adler wraps up his diary series with an entertaining look at the Century Club qualifying and some of the decisions that alternates face.


"But the answer is, you don't earn that money back."

In one of those wonderful golfing traditions, David Fay made his annual reiteration that the USGA is committed to an 18-hole playoff. But this year there's a twist. We get to find out just what those 18 holes cost thanks to Doug Ferguson's report:

Fay said the USGA had to spend nearly $120,000 for an extra day of buses, $45,000 for the smaller buses, $30,000 for parking, $60,000 for security to stay an extra night and day. Throw in lunches for bus drivers, media, volunteers, parking for the media and travel costs for the USGA staff.

"When you round it up, and throw in the ever popular 'miscellaneous,' it came out to $513,000," he said. "Sure, we hope to see a few more hot dogs and beers and shirts. But the answer is, you don't earn that money back."